A-level results: County Upper School and King Edward VI headteachers hail ‘superb’ A-level results

A- Level students gather at the County Upper Shool in Bury St Edmunds for their A-Level results.

A- Level students gather at the County Upper Shool in Bury St Edmunds for their A-Level results. - Credit: Archant

Students in the west of the county are eagerly awaiting their A-level results this morning as a record number of pupils nationwide achieve places at UK universities.

Of almost 3,000 students which sat A-level examinations across the county, 98.5% achieved A*-E grades, up from 98% last year, with 76% of grades achieved at A*-C, down from 77% last year.

At King Edward VI school in Bury St Edmunds 82% were A*-C following this year’s A-Levels.

The total exams taken by students at the school rated A*-E was 99%.

Headteacher Geoff Barton said the vast majority of pupils would now move on to their university of choice or into employment and added: “Year after year our students delight us by showing that they can achieve superb results whilst contributing richly to the school and wider community.

“Their academic achievements go hand-in-hand with their sporting success, musical talent, charity fundraising and stunning work in drama, debating and many other areas.

“All of this is a credit to a wonderful group of young people, to the support of their parents, and of course it is a real credit to the great staff team we have at King Edward’s.

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“Once again, I feel very proud of what all our students and their teachers have achieved.”

King Edward’s pupils Flori Birnie and James Blythe, both 18, celebrated their results together, with both now set for a year out, with a trip to Flori’s home nation of Romania and a tour of America on the cards.

Aspiring solicitor James achieved an A* in history and an A in both English literature and sociology. Future social worker Flori achieved a C in English and history and a B in psychology. Alongside travelling she is also taking on a job as a health worker, adding: “Experience is really important now.”

At Bury St Edmunds’ County Upper School 100% of the 101 students taking A-levels achieved A* to E grades, with 88% at A* to C.

Headteacher Vicky Neale said: “Once more our students and staff have achieved a truly superb set of results at all levels meaning students across the ability range can move on to their chosen career paths.

“Yet again, every student has passed every A-level they took and a quarter of all grades are A* or A, including 15 A*s in mathematics.

“Amongst a host of students with higher grades are this year’s Head Students; William Curwen has 4 A*s and will read physics at Birmingham while Gabriella Deora has 2 A*s and an A and will read Languages at Cambridge.

“I thank the staff for all they do to give our students an excellent all-round education. I congratulate the students and I wish them every success for the next phase of their lives.”

Next door at St Benedict’s Catholic School, in Bury St Edmunds, they also achieved a 100% A* to E pass rate, with 84% of their 71 year 13 sixth form students achieving A* to C.

Today is the last A-level results day for headteacher Hugh O’Neill, as he retires after 33 years at the school. He said: “As ever, we salute a wonderful group of students who have done superbly. They have also been a wonderful group of young people to inspire and set a leading example for the rest of the school.

“I congratulate all of them, and thank their teachers and their families for all the help and support they have given.

“They will now move on, mostly to universities, knowing that they can build on the very secure foundations that they have laid here at St Benedict’s.”

St Benedict’s star pupil James Rawson, who is actually in lower sixth form, achieved an incredible four A-levels with two A*s, one A and a B and plans to stay on for another year to get even more.

Also topping the charts was Fady Kamel, with three A*s in French, maths and chemistry and three As in biology Arabic and general studies.

Fady, who moved to Bury St Edmunds from Egypt six years ago, is now set to read medicine at University College London.

The day was also full of good news for aspiring music, or maths, teacher Eoin Funnell who achieved an A in Spanish, maths, music and general studies. He is now set for Birmingham University to study a joint maths and university honours.

At Thurston Community College’s Beyton Sixth Form Campus their 146 students achieved 99% A* to E grades, with 80% achieving A* to C.

Principal Helen Wilson said: “I’m incredibly proud and full of praise for the students and their hard work that’s led them to this great success. The support they had from our staff and parents was superb.”

“We’re especially proud this year,” added head of sixth form Paul Potter. “The sixth form journey is a tough journey. It’s exacting and challenging. Our A* and A students have been a particular success this year but we’re celebrating all the students and all the successes.”

Angela Shaw, 18, from Cockfield, was thrilled to receive an A* and two A’s, for chemistry, maths and biology and will now study biochemistry at UEA.

She said she was “really scared” of results day.

“I was so nervous. I can’t believe I got the grades I got,” she said.

Jack Hogg, 18, from Bury St Edmunds, is heading to Warwick University to study politics after gaining an A* in English literature and A’s in history and government politics.

“To be honest, I wasn’t sure how I’d done so it was a very pleasant surprise,” he said.

“When I took them I felt they had gone well but time went on a bit and I got a bit worried.”

Jess Botting, 18, from Ixworth got two A*’s, for maths and psychology and a B for history and will now head to York University to study psychology.

Jonathan Gilroy, 18, from Barningham, got A*’s for maths and further maths and an A for physics. He will study aeronautical engineering at Loughborough.

“I was more excited than Christmas,” he said of hearing he was into his first-choice university.

Daniel Sharman, 18, from Woolpit, received A*s for Geography and English Literature and A’s for philosophy and politics.

He heads to St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, to study philosophy.

Megan Reeve, 18, from Market Weston, received A*’s in biology, chemistry and maths. She said she was “really happy” to head to University of Bath to study natural sciences.

Harriet Laidler, 18, from Thurston, got A* for geography, B for music and A for sociology.

Over in Sudbury, Thomas Gainsborough School celebrated a “significant improvement” on last years results.

Out of 49 students 80% achieved A* to C grades compared to 62% last year, while 97% achieved A* to E grades compared to 96% in 2015. Results for those taking level 3 vocational qualifications were also high.

Wayne Lloyd, headteacher, said: “Once again, we are encouraged by the progress that these results illustrate, being, as they are, a significant improvement on last year.

“This demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the young people of this area, through the high quality teaching and excellent support that the school has provided them with.”

Director of sixth form Kenny Alexander said: “These results will open many doors to the young people who have worked so hard to achieve these results.

“We wish them all the very best for the next phase of their lives, be that university, college, apprenticeships or employment.”

Harriet Barber, 18, from Great Cornard, is now preparing to study for a Master’s degree in maths at the University of Exeter after gaining an A, B and B in maths, further maths and physics.

At Ormiston Sudbury Academy they achieved an A* to C pass rate of 78% out of 45 year 13 students, with 100% at A* to E grades.

Headteacher Caroline Wilson said: “I’m delighted with the results. It’s four years of constant improvement.”

She said there had been a “significant shift” 46% of students this year getting A* and A grades or their equivalents, compared with 38% last year.

“They’ve worked remarkably hard,” she said. “Staff have supported them. We’ve got a range of students and we’re a true comprehensive.

“I’m proud of what staff have put in to make sure they get these and particularly the students’ hard graft. More students can go off and follow the careers they want to do.”

Dan Elsey, 18, from Glemsford, balanced A-level study with 16 hours a week working at Halfords.

After gaining an A* in maths, an A in chemistry and a B in physics, he is off to study engineering at the University of Sheffield.

He wanted to find out his results before knowing where he was heading for university so did not check the UCAS website this morning.

“I turned my emails off,” he said. “I wanted today to be a surprise.

“I put so many hours into it, I wanted to get the results I wanted. [Not find out about university] and worry about results afterwards.

“I admit I did feel quite sick this morning.

“I was working 16 hours a week at Halfords in Sudbury and if I wasn’t working at Halfords I was studying at home until 10pm.”

Several students from the school have gone onto acclaimed performing arts colleges around the country.

Joey Hogger, 18, who gained three distinction*’s is heading to the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance.

Leah Wallings, 18, gained the same grades and heads to the London Studio Centre to study dance.

At Mildenhall College Academy the percentage of students achieving the top grades at A-level was the same as last year with 75% achieving grades A* to C. The two best performing A-level subjects were Maths and English Literature. 99% of pupils achieved A* to E. They maintained a 100% vocational qualification pass rate, despite the assessments being made harder for this year.

Susan Byles, headteacher, said: “This is another set of really pleasing A-level and vocational results.

“I am extremely proud of how hard our students and staff have worked. They are a credit to our sixth form centre.”

Joyce Hodgetts, managing director of Academy Transformation Trust, said: “Mildenhall staff and students continue to impress with the consistent excellent results. We are proud of them all. Well done.”

In Haverhill at Samuel Ward Academy 77% of their 111 A-level students achieved A* to C grade 2016, with 98% A* to E grade.

Kath Just, who became the headteacher in June, said: “It is a privilege to take over the running of such a highly achieving school, where teachers, students and parents work together to ensure that all students progress to the next stage of their educational and work journey as well prepared as possible.

“Aspirations are high across the academy and students work hard, alongside their teachers, to meet the challenges and pressures they face in the ever-changing landscape of academic success.

“I am proud to see that this hard work and effort has been rewarded and students can move on to a bright future.”

High achiever Tom Quarrell achieved three A* grades and A in further maths AS and will go to Cambridge to read medicine while Jack Sheppard achieved three A* grades and B in further maths AS and has a place for 2017 to study medicine.

At Castle Manor Academy, in Haverhill, 93% of 36 students passed at grades A*-E (or vocational equivalent) with 78% of these at grades A* to C.

Vanessa Whitcombe, headteacher, said: “We are all proud of our students and their achievements.

“We would all like to wish our students the very best for their future, whether that is at university, in further study or in the world of work and we know they will go on to achieve great things. The last cohort of sixth form students are now beginning their final year of study and we are sure that these students will make us equally proud.”

At the fee-paying Culford School, just outside Bury St Edmunds, they are celebrating 80% of 68 pupils achieving A* to C and 99% A* to E.

Headmaster, Julian Johnson-Munday, said: “We are very proud of this set of excellent grades and particularly delighted with the high number of very good individual results.

“Pupils and teachers put a significant amount of effort into preparing for these important examinations and therefore the value added is always very pleasing.”

At Thetford Academy, 71% of students achieved A* to C grades, and the sixth form’s overall average grade had improved on last year’s results. The percentage A* to E was 94%.

Principal Adrian Ball said: “We are very pleased with this year’s results and proud of the work our students and staff have put in to achieve them.

“The students have worked really hard and been consistent across the board, and many have got into their first place choices for university.”

At the fee-paying Thetford Grammar School, 27 students got their A-level results today, with 99% at A* to E and 81* achieving A* to C grades.

Headteacher Mark Bedford said: “This is a real testament to our young people’s determination and hard work, and the dedication and commitment of all our staff. I am mindful that these students lead rich and fulfilling lives: their academic success comes alongside many notable achievements in music, sport, the creative arts and community involvement.”

At Newmarket College Academy headteacher Nick Froy hailed their results as the “best ever” but said they would not be releasing any figures today. He said all of the sixth-form students achieved the grades needed to secure first-choice university places.

At West Suffolk College their 1,300 level 3 vocational students had already received their results earlier this week.

They got 75% A* to C (A-level equivalent) and 99% pass rate at A* to E.

Dr Nikos Savas, college principal, said: “These are amazing results. Our students go to university with work experience already which looks great on their CV and when they leave University they will get a job.

Lindsey Johnson, vice principal for curriculum and quality, described the results as “an impressive achievement”.

She said: “They have all done a significant amount of study as well as work experience in their chosen subject along with employer related projects.

“Our students have the opportunity to specialise at 16 in their chosen subjects and have a greater level of understanding, knowledge and experience when they progress to university.”